Category talk:Song Themes

From This Might Be A Wiki

Old Discussions[edit]

There are categories for songs in the keys of C Major and G Major, but there are a LOT of TMBG songs in D Major, and I've started a list of songs that I find that are in this key. - Overjoy

  • Yeah, like I said, lots of TMBG songs in D Major/B Minor, and I've found 18 so far, and no doubt that there's more than that. - Overjoy

Okay, I've come up with a list of D Major/B Minor songs, which can have songs added to it. BUT, the list of songs in F Major/D Minor is uncannily lengthy. I'm gonna keep making these lists until someone decides to make the categories. - Overjoy

  • In one sitting, I found 25 TMBG songs in the key of E Major. There needs to be a category. --Overjoy 15:49, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I think it would be interesting to see a chart of themes touched upon by song - i.e., 10 songs whose main theme is dreams, four whose main theme is sailing.. maybe get a better picture of the Johns' songwriting predispositions?

How 'bout we do a section for unreleased songs? If other people like the idea, I'd be glad to make it. Although it might not be a song theme, it might still be useful. - Herwwiyal 14:37, 30 May 2006 (CDT)

Mmkay, I thought of this today. How about a page for irony? You know, the mention of it and/or the use of it. I can think of a few off the top of my head. So, what do you guys think? --Lemita 15:44, 30 May 2006 (CDT)

Sounds good to me! - Herwwiyal 03:18, 31 May 2006 (CDT)

Do we have a page with songs not sung by a John, aside from Female Vocals? There is a suspicious lack of this theme on songs like The Edison Museum or Night Security, among others. If there really is no page like that as of yet, what should it be called? Not Sung By A John would be too long... - Whirrrlwind (Woosh!) 18:24, 1 Jun 2006 (CDT)

Well we have Oxymorons, Paradoxes, And Contradictory Statements and Things We Weren't Meant To Hear (Or Other Mistakes), so I don't think it's too long. Anyway, I think it's a good idea. --badqueso 18:38, 1 Jun 2006 (CDT)
OK. I'll do it tomorrow. The letters go first (as long as no one says we don't need them - I think they're an important bit of TMBG history). - Whirrrlwind (Woosh!) 18:41, 1 Jun 2006 (CDT)

How about a theme for songs that no one is confirmed to have heard, or whose exitence is only rumored? Like Kitchen Door, Rockfish and Don't Worry Kyoko. I was gonna make one, but I couldn't think of good name for it. - extrafacelol

I propose a nautical song theme page, if there isn't already one that I'm missing. Off the top of my head I can think of a few songs that would belong there: The Cap'm, With The Dark, Mr. Me, a brief mention of sailing in Chess Piece Face, and Women And Men... or is that not enough? And what would be a good name for the page? Would just Nautical be okay? Akagi 15:09, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

We do have one for Sailing. I will create a redirect for Nautical to Sailing.--Duke33 15:59, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I had a great reply to this one, but I was in school: I'm getting tired of all my nautical themes. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 19:04, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Themes vs Lists[edit]

I've noticed that there are a few "Themes" that are really more of a list. For example, one of my favorite pages, Kingdom Of Loathing Reference, isn't really a theme. John and John didn't reference KOL in the song when they wrote it. Here's some others that I think meet that criteria:

Am i overthinking this, or should we just leave these as themes? Thoughts? --Duke33 16:47, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I've thought that, as well. Things that don't actually have anything to do with the lyrics/title of a song should not be considered a theme. Akagi 16:50, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Oddly enough, badqueso had a similar thought two days ago in an IM with me, that particular "themes" like those really shouldn't be listed under song themes. What he suggested was a "Meta" page for each song, which would encompass funky list-type themes like those, along with instrumental listings and stuff like that. I'm not too hot on that idea (ha), but I agree that these really aren't "song themes." Got anything in mind, Duke? -CapitalQtalk ♪ 16:58, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I've noticed as well that there are a bunch of so-called themes are just like could-be categories that are too obscure to be made into one, and have nothing to do with the themes of the lyrics themselves. Some of these "themes" that have nothing to do with the intentions of the song annoy me to be listed alongside the real themes, but until we achieve that weird "Meta" page (whatever that's even supposed to mean) I'd say it's best (and easiest) to just leave it as is. Unless we want to separate these pseudothemes into another header between themes and videos, but that just seems unnecessary to me. ~ magbatz 00:44, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
You could call the page whatever you want, but yeah, the idea was that there'd be something like "Ana Ng/Meta-or-whatever" and that each of these non-themes could be made into a category for that page. A couple of problems with that include the reason song themes aren't categories in the first place: additional information. Things like C Major can just be a list like Instrumentals is, but things like Kingdom Of Loathing Reference need more explanation for each song, so I'm not sure how that could work out. A work-around idea is for these "Song Theme" pages to be put under a "Lists" category. They could remain the same and be linked to under a "Lists" section of this meta info page much like the song page has a "Song Themes" section. This currently seems like the more reasonable/workable idea to me right now. Anyway, the whole suggestion was just so I had an answer to the inevitable "what would you rather do instead?" question. If someone could come up with a better idea that'd be great. --badqueso 07:20, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so sure i'm wild about that "meta" idea. I was thinking of one of two things: #1 - We add a "see also" to the bottom of song pages, and you could include the links to the lists there. #2 - We could just remove the links from those pages altogether. I don't see a problem with one-way linking for those items. What's anyone else think?--Duke33 03:34, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Nah, it should probably still be a two-way link, at least in my opinion. I'd say the links on the song pages could go under the trivia sections, perhaps. Akagi 03:56, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Album Themes[edit]

Does anyone think there should be a theme for songs like Theme From Flood, Theme From Unlimited, Theme To Podcast 2A, The Songs Of The 50 States, etc? Akagi 06:35, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I put a new section on Self-Reference for just this subject. -- DidgeGuy (आ ज) 17:42, 15 March 2010 (CST)

What about a "Fire" theme? There are many TMBG songs referencing fire!


so it has gradually dawned on me that the whole business with the keys of songs is, well, a complete mess. there are lots of songs listed on key pages, without a link on the song page itself, there are songs that link to key pages which don't have them listed, and then there are quite a number of songs which don't have any information about their key(s) anywhere.

i am also a bit bothered that the keys are listed (both on song pages and with categories on the key pages themselves) as song themes. there a number of things here on tmbw that are not song themes, yet are listed as them, but for which i can see why they could be categorized that way. keys on the other hand, at least in my opinion, are completely wrong. the key in which a song is performed has no relationship whatsoever to the actual content.

while i believe that something very badly needs to be done about this, i have no strong opinion on what shape the reform should take. my first (and possibly strongest) idea is that we make keys into categories which songs can be put into. hence, at the bottom of a page, among "Songs", "Songs sung by X", and so on, we would have "Songs in the key of Z Major/Minor", or perhaps, for the sake of brevity, "Z Major/Minor", or something along those lines. on clicking the text, one would be taken to a nice category list of all the songs in that key, thereby A, eliminating the listing inconsistencies mentioned in the first section, and B, reducing the need for upkeep. the main drawback to this that i can see is that, due to the automatic nature of the lists, it wouldn't allow for notes and such mentioning, for instance, that a song is in in one key only a certain part of the time, and other noteworthy things.

i would therefore greatly appreciate people's ideas, suggestions, comments, criticisms, and input in general. let the discussion (hopefully) begin. --ant 03:00, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Categorizing keys would work, but this might be a good opportunity to re-think about some kind of "See also"/"Miscellaneous things this song is associated with" heading on the song page (Duke mentioned it above). Key categories are the most legitimate non-theme theme listed with the song themes, so I would be quite fine with it if others took a liking to Keys as Categories, but then I worry that we're just leaving other links that have no place in Song Themes to remain there FOREVERRRRR-- "Problems with Liner Notes," "KOL Reference," and other things which have little to do with the song's content. So who's with me in dragging down other faux-themes in this amazing and effective attempt at THEME REFORM! ~ magbatz 04:45, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
darn you, i was waiting for the keys project to be done before unveiling my MASTER PLAN for all those other things... (which would also give me time to actually create my master plan). you've foiled me again, Mr. Batz! --ant 05:05, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I like this idea! I also like the idea of the "misc. things" heading. Notes about the keys could go there along with everything else, maybe? ~ blitzente (talk) 14:59, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Is anything happening with this? At the very least, if nobody objects to keys being turned into categories, that would be pretty easy to do right now. Then a more complicated non-theme revamp could be undertaken later with no harm done. (I'm bringing this up again mostly because over the past few weeks I've been figuring out the keys of various songs that weren't listed already, and I was holding off on adding them to the existing pages in case someone wanted to start working on this, but that hasn't happened yet.) ~ blitzente (talk) 17:12, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Shifting TV/Movie Themes Around[edit]

We currently have a theme page for:

  • Songs used as themes for, or featured in films and television
  • Songs referencing movies but not used in them
  • Songs used in or referencing cartoons

We're lacking in songs referencing TV but not used in them. We also have overlap in cartoon themes-- they currently go in both TV And Movie Themes and Cartoons. As I've mentioned before, what I propose is one page for references to Movies/TV, and one page for songs in Movies/TV. If there's interest, it can even be split to a page for Movie Reference and a page for Television Reference-- I don't care. So TV And Movie Themes would remain as is, Cartoons would be cleared, and Movies would be changed to References To Television Or Movies or TV And Film References or some name like that.

This comes from me assuming that Cartoons do not have any notable distinction from other television. If anyone believes that TMBG's relationship to cartoon series is worth keeping a page for, or that TMBG's cartoon references are important, then we can keep this page. Theme overlap doesn't bother me as long as the extra page has significance (such as the Insects subtheme to Animals). So, think it over, TMBW, and let me know what you think. ~ magbatz 17:00, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Themes and non-themes[edit]

It has come to my attention that things like "Rhymes" and "Problems With Liner Notes" aren't really song themes, but I'm confused as to whether they should be listed under "song themes" or not. Recently, for instance, I labelled "rhymes" as a song theme for an obscene number of songs because they were listed on the rhymes page. Then it was pointed out to me the "Rhymes" wasn't a song theme. So I had to go back and undo all of that. Which wasn't fun, and was hugely embarassing. Then it was pointed out to me that there was no where else to put that sort of information. Which was the confusing part. And also that some songs mention "Rhymes" in the lyrics. I think "themes" like these should either be declared song themes (or not, and be taken off song pages,) or we should make a new section on the song page for things like this. I didn't want to put it on the to-do list in case a) magbatz is already doing something or b) it's not really that important. But does anyone want to provide speculation? --Apollo 23:20, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

There's been talk about this for a while, but I don't think anything is happening with it right now. I like the idea of a separate section for not-themes. ~ blitzente (talk) 07:04, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I'm a bit concerned, though, because that discussion ended 3 years ago...(!) So maybe it's good to bring it up again. Even if nothing gets done about it. --Apollo 20:49, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
If it makes you feel better about the stagnancy of this, it gets brought up fairly often. Doesn't make me feel better tho. ~ magbatz 22:29, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I guess I should have looked that page over a bit better... I don't see how it coming up often makes it any better. Of course, all I did was bring it up, too, though. Action should be taken here, right? On the other hand, we could always just say that things like "Songs in the key of such and such" either should or shouldn't be listed as themes until such a time that someone...does something productive. --Apollo 01:12, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Errr... song keys have been moved out of themes for some time. I don't see why something productive can't be done now - it just needs some vague consensus on what to do (from more than one person, anyway) and a green light. Anyone? ~ blitzente (talk) 06:58, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Right, I don't check things. It's best to ignore my ignorance until I learn my lesson.--Apollo 16:21, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

OK. We've definitely got to put thought into each specific of what defines a theme, etc. But let's make some headway. What if the non-thematic themes exists as a heading between Song Themes and Videos, and its name is "Other Tags"? I'm not all that happy with that name choice, so if you've got better, please mention it. Here's a list containing (what I believe to be) every possible nonthematic theme. Many of them probably should stay as themes, but it's a starting point. Again, if you think of another candidate for thematic dethroning, don't hesitate to mention it:

It also might be good to move this talk to the Theme Category talk, seeing as this could get long and unwieldy fast. I'll also be on AIM hopefully sometime tonight (EST) and definitely by tomorrow. ~ magbatz 13:29, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

I vote out not-theme: A Capella, Ads + Cartoons + Songs Used In Commercials + TV And Movie Themes, Bad English, Intros, Kingdom Of Loathing Reference, Non-John Vocals, Not In 4-4 Time, Problems With Liner Notes, Radio Promos, Radio Show Themes, Remixes, Songs With Handclaps, Songs With Samples, Swapped Vocals, TMBG Remakes, Two Chord Songs, Title Not In Lyrics - would this be a starting point?
As for a different name, maybe "Meta" / "Meta-themes"? Although those aren't much better. ~ blitzente (talk) 15:11, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
It would be funny in a sort of ironic way if we called it "Song Quirks." Also, not that "Rhymes" is a theme as it is, but that could be categorized as an "Other Tag," too. EDIT: I also feel that "Venue Songs" sort of is a song theme. And "Children" in the instances where children are mentioned. Come to think of it "Educational" is a theme, too, depending on how you look at it. How are we defining "theme"? If we are going to go any further with this, that is. --Apollo 16:21, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
The idea I had was that it's a theme if you could remove it without significantly changing the song (say: would it matter if Spiraling Shape hadn't been in a movie?) - and it should appear in more than one or two songs, otherwise it's not much of a recurring theme. That's an overly simplistic definition, but past that it get blurry really quickly. ~ blitzente (talk) 23:22, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, in that case, I think "Educational" is probably a theme: would songs like "Why Does The Sun Shine?" be the same if they weren't educational? "Venue Songs" is still sort of hard to place. -Apollo (If you want my talk page, find it yourself) 00:45, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
In the case of Venue Songs, they were all written specifically with that project in mind and all of them mention a venue in the lyrics, so I think they qualify. But all of that can be argued over later if we can decide on a name for the non-theme tags. ~ blitzente (talk) 15:49, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Well then what are we going to call them? -Apollo 20:44, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Another non-theme theme: Long, Long. I mean, seriously.-Apollo (oh no!) 18:35, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
By the way (and yes, I am trying to "bump" the discussion, per se) I think one of the "as-of-yet-unamed-song-quirks" should be factual inconsistency. -Apollo (oh no!) 01:06, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Factual inconsistency such as "Bats, I hear they lay eggs" in "We Live in a Dump" as something to be pointed out? Or do you mean factual inconsistency in some other capacity related to the song theme system? ~ magbatz 01:27, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Bats laying eggs in "We Live in a Dump" was exactly what I was thinking, actually. :O But I've managed to find a few other "lies" in certain songs (e.g. "Why Does The Sun Shine?" obviously). Entirely unrelated to the song theme system. -Apollo (oh no!) 01:40, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
References To Other Songs Or Musicians as a song theme is debatable. And long. -Apollo (moo) 23:11, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Let's debate. I'm not sure where you're coming from when you say that. ~ magbatz 23:55, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
What I was thinking was that if a theme is "a dominant idea" (Random House Dictionary 2010) "reference" to something* isn't quite thematic. If Dial-A-Song references aren't thematic, Beatles references aren't thematic either, right? (which is not to say that there is anything wrong with the Beatles.) -Apollo (moo) 02:13, 11 March 2010 (UTC) *something besides a legitimate, definite theme, like Death. Death references are fine.
Trade Names isn't a theme, right?
I think it is a theme. Themes on this wiki do not necessarily have to be dominant ideas in the song. Hence "briefly mentioned" (and central themes aren't 100% the predominant theme in a song). The themes aren't here so much to provide a clear-cut diagram of what each individual song focuses on through its various references (which would be a valuable endeavor, but for which the ordering and dominance of the several ideas and literary devices would be up for interpretation). Rather, they catch recurring patterns in the things John and John make mention of, focus on, and find themselves using to convey whatever it is they want to convey. So you ask yourself, 'I've only listened to Wearing A Raincoat and Puppet Head by this band, are Zombies Or The Undead some weird kind of fetish in this band's songs?' And if you look at the page, you can see all the evidence pointing us to 'Well, maybe they are'. With trade names, it's within the lyrics of the song, and the Johns know they're saying Johnson's Wax and The Dupont Pavillion. Mentioning specific brand names, then, is a device the Johns use out of habit or for some means (specific imagery provides specific images; branded items bring up feelings of advertising and capitalism, etc)-- and with the number of entries on the Trade Names page, you have that much more evidence that this recurring element in TMBG's songs is in fact more than a fluke, which means there is a purpose or habit in this thing that can be traced back to the songwriter, for one reason or another. (Which is why I like this site's Song Themes.) ~ magbatz 19:49, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I will respond fully to this once I see what else it is you have to say (and, admittedly, have time to think about all of it), but for now I'd like to point out that a theme tends to be, if not dominant, an idea. Just a bit of obvious trivia for everyone to bear in mind. When I said "dominant" I figured the briefly mentioned business might come up; on that note, I think there is something important (important is a word I would have used instead of dominant, had I thought of it) about a theme's appearance within the individual song, even without the matter of recurrence. (Does that make sense?) I don't think the appearance of a brand name is necessarily always more than a fluke. Sometimes they just come up, you know? Like how people say "I'll xerox it" without intending to reflect on capitalism. -Apollo (moo) 21:15, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree completely with that sentiment. Nothing bugs me more than a minor lyric that only happens to mention a word that a theme relates to. Easy example: Hands. Going through a search for songs that mention a word like this end up with Trucker's Coffee's line, "Got nothing but time on my hands." Which is a clear-cut case for not pertaining to the idea of hands. Other things which display hands more graphically, such as arms around my neck, no arms on my body, I've got a withered arm, etc., they show that some thought was given to providing the idea of "hands" to our mind. (The reason it does bug me is that it's often the case that someone will just search for a word to fill in themes and end up with Unrelated Things, and it's not really polite to just go striking out songs left and right based on personal opinion of the significance of a small thing in a song.) I like the word "salience."
I decided against typing out that other thing I was going to say. Basically, though, I think the division of themes versus meta-themes is just kind of inherent in the songmaking process. If something is a subject dealt with a lot (like Death or Religion/Supernatural) lyrically (and especially used as an undercurrent), then, yes, that's a theme. If something is referred to to make something-or-other jump out or prove a point in the lyrics (Dwight David Eisenhower or The Long Long Trailer), then maybe that's just a reference? If we notice that the Johns tend to say a certain thing pretty often but it's not quite precedented as a reference nor quite prominently enough to be a subject (the darkness of "Thinking only of my plans, my plans"; gold and silver as fanciness in Elements, NYC, Mink Car) then what, it's a device? IE, Is it more notable that a song that sings "I'm in a rut that I don't want to be in / I wanna break the chains" talks about Metallurgy (I know it's a stupid fictional theme, work with me here!) or about Escape? If there's a scream, it's not lyrical, but is it meta? Is a handclap in a song meta? Is it not meta if it's during the break as the narrator blurts, "Thank you. Thank you."? What about composition? Epistolary Songs is a lyrical thing but there's less lines to prove it than a well-placed handclap; it's more about how the song is delivered. What about song styles? Does Become A Robot being a polka (or polka-esque) matter? How about The Famous Polka? Is it not just as big a part of that song as the "you" being sung to in I'm Your Boyfriend Now?
The point of that ramble is twofold. First of all, according to that mission statement of ours, we're here to present gathered information. If it's not perfectly known, then it should at least be a general opinion that's grounded in sense. Song Themes are interesting because it's at the intersection of "lyrics we hear" and "what they mean with this song." So we have to tread lightly. If challenged that "No, Museum of Idiots is not about trees, you idiot" or "Monsters of Mud is not about racism!" then we have to either remove the claim on the theme page or give some note that it's disputed. And this thought should be applied to putting new thoughts up on theme pages in the first place: You're only really safe putting up information that is defined in the words and unambiguous. Which is why something like this baby (were it ever to appear outside of my userpage) couldn't really venture to make claims about John, John, and Their intended messages. Secondly, there are different levels of a song (though I say this with Part 1 in mind). If "Meta" stuff were to happen, one division could be as follows:
  • Lyrical references and themes within a song. Death, References To Other Songs Or Musicians (if you dig Menudo or MDC), Trade Names.
  • Musical, or vocal, or production elements of a song. Screaming, References To Other Songs Or Musicians (Scott's Powerhouse in Rhythm Section Want Ad; possibly the prominent appearance of a drum machine at the beginning of the song), Songs With Handclaps. Wax Cylinder Recordings.
  • Meta. Meaning outside the recording of a song. Problems with Liner Notes, KOL Reference, Song Title stuff.
A problem, as you can see, is this stuff is all up for interpretation. Is "Song Title Not In Lyrics" part of the lyrical structure of the piece? Is the handclap interacting with the words? The answer is hopefully yes to that one. Anyway, I have dinner now, and not much else to say anyway. To be honest, lyrical vs. extralyrical vs. extra-song-al is the best division I've thought of. The nature of the division might be the best place for good discussion to come from (not that I'm limiting what anyone else talks about). ~ magbatz 22:59, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
First of all, I would say "song title not in lyrics" is extralyrical, because it's the title, you know? Not neccessarily a part of the lyrics, as proved by the very virtue of it. Even though it isn't musical or vocal. Handclaps, on the other hand, could be a sound effect for musical aesthetic, or an element that adds a mood to the lyrics for instance, if the claps in The Cap'm could be people clapping for the cap'm (I don't think they are) they would be the sound equivalent of the (nonexistent) lyric "The Cap'm is great, so we clap for him." Not that this is what was intended, of course. So that could go either way. As for Eisenhower, he has nothing to do with cells (except, you know, the made-of-them thing,) so that's really just a reference. Unless Eisenhower has some significance with TMBG, which he doesn't (I think.) Now I'm just rambling on, though. I think I'll start a new paragraph.
Ok, so regarding the song styles/composition business. The fact that a song is a polka is as important as a generic song theme, but, like I said before, that isn't an idea and my basis for a theme is rooted in ideas. Now, the polka-ness is certainly classifiable, and could be pointed out on the wiki. I'll have to do more thinking, though. I'm trying to (over)analyze the division method you've suggested. -Apollo (moo) 23:39, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
These colons are becoming difficult. Anyway, I have a question: would there be subdivisions of -Apollo (moo) 19:31, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

ooh ooh i have an idea which is unrelated to all of what has been said (i haven't read 90% of it anyway), but does have to do with theme reform. on a song page, "main" themes can be in bold, while briefly-mentioned-type things are just in regular text. opinions? --ant 21:03, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that that is an excellent idea! But it might take a while really long time. Unless someone can write a script. But I don't know if that's possible.

Honorable Mentions in a song's Themes list[edit]

Just felt like getting this written somewhere, since there's no stated preference anywhere. What's the stance on listing HM listings from Song Theme pages on the song pages? There's basically two types if you want to look further: video (or artwork) themes (like Experimental Film's extra section), and kinda-construable themes in the songs (like those listed In Hair or In Back). My opinion is that honorable mentions are harmless enough on song theme pages because it's made clear that the way the song is connected to the theme is a stretch, but on a song's page the connection just doesn't belong alongside a central theme and is usually not notable enough for inclusion. With both "types" of honorable mentions. Though others can disagree. ~ magbatz 19:19, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


I'm not saying we definitely need a theme page for this. I'm just saying...... hey! eggs! (by the way it might be cool to have a page where people make the case for TMBG employing similar oddball, obscure images or techniques in their songs. (maybe this is that page.))

just look at the ovidence:

plus depending on how you broaden it you could extent to having been a zygote, or having cones for seeds, or the surprisingly large number of songs involving barren females. ~ magbatz 00:24, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

I was just thinking this a minute ago! I think "unborn animals" or something might be appropriate, if not just "eggs". - Apollo (colloquia!) 00:26, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Do it. --Self Called Nowhere 00:29, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
AGREED. SamuelMan36 00:30, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Oh wow. Awesome/weird as hell that you thought of this too. Yeah, not too sure about the future of this little themesprout. Whatever happens. ////// [Edit conflict] ////// Ok, shall we? ////// [Edit conflict] ////// OK THEN. ~ magbatz 00:31, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
idk if this is like, the best idea you've ever had (not that it's an entirely bad one), but i just wanted to say, as much as i hate puns, "ovidence" is my word of the week. --ant 00:35, 29 April 2011 (UTC)


A vague theme, and partially covered by Remembering/Forgetting and maybe Time. Off the top of my head there's Raincoat and Till My Head Falls Off, but there's probably more... maybe Moving My Chair. What struck me as interesting is that there are now two latter-day TMBG songs half-based in a pit of the demonic dead where the narrator is blaming some of their problems on the time/attention spent on maintaining friendships. Perhaps that could be a new theme? Anyway I'll think of more Attention songs when I [pun too unavoidable to continue] ~ magbatz 13:22, 13 May 2011 (EDT)

I'd like to show you some songs I found "the world" in[edit]

  • The World Before Later On
  • Bangs are that on which the world hangs
  • Welcome To The World
  • Stand On Your Own Head - I love the world
  • The World's Address
  • I told you bout the world its address
  • The End Of The Tour - The engagements are booked through the end of the world, so we'll meet at
  • Don't Let's Start - "Could believe for all the world that you're my precious little girl"; I don't want to live in this world anymore
  • Ana Ng - I don't want the world / I just want your half; Where the world goes by like the humid air
  • When Tornadoes Take Over The World
  • Sensurround - And the world first spoke to me in sensurround
  • How Can I Sing Like A Girl? - And not be stigmatized by the rest of the world
  • Maine - Is the world that went south
  • She Was A Hotel Detective - (but) Now that lady is running the worrrrld
  • Meet James Ensor - "The world was transformed / A crowd gathered round"
  • Reprehensible - And nothing in the world can ever make me stop
  • Birdhouse demo - 'Cause I couldn't tolerate / All the empty places in the world
  • I'm Your Boyfriend Now - And though the world may think you strange
  • Shoehorn With Teeth - Tour the world in a heavy metal band
  • Why is the world in love again?
  • Miss Cinderella - You've been around the world / And I've been around my block
  • Valentine - The world's your valentine
  • Mainstream USA - We are the world (back off, boogaloo)
  • We Are The World
  • Why Did You Grow A Beard?
  • Certain People I Could Name - halfway through the thirty minutes, halfway round the world
  • Miniature Sidewalk Whirlwind - Ever and always / Around the world / Everywhere you go / There will always be those
  • They Might Be Giants wanted to include a verse about suffering people in the world
  • Sally Boy - I've been told that a boy is a girl / This isn't true anywhere in the world
  • Narrow Your Eyes - Ride through the world / Through the green lights
  • Dark & Metric - Not a man of the world / No patch on my eye / Patch on my eye

HM: We've Got a World That Swings, others

Wild. ~ magbatz


Well, it was inevitable, I suppose: a chart of word frequencies in TMBG lyrics, created by some dude and honored with a mention on the tumblr. This has to be a time when the Johns look at the monster they have created and say, "It is good. But so effing effed up." With, of course, Flansburgh using the actual "eff" words. --MisterMe 08:24, 28 March 2013 (EDT)

am i the only person who is less than impressed with this graph? being a huge fan of graphics in general, all i can say is "duh". seems like whenever i hover over a word it's an obvious one; i don't imagine the graph would look particularly different for any other band, particularly alternative-type ones. -Apollo (colloquia!) 16:41, 28 March 2013 (EDT)
Yeh, I also expected it to be cooler than it was, but I do still think it's semi-cool. But they should've taken out obvious words. --Self Called Nowhere 16:51, 28 March 2013 (EDT)
Ya. TMBW still maintains the best breakdown of Their unique recurring themes and focuses. ~ magbatz 17:13, 28 March 2013 (EDT)
When I did a search for "army" and "pencil" nothing came up; is this a comprehensive chart? -- CJSF 17:33, 28 March 2013 (EDT)
"Only words used in at least five songs are shown." --Self Called Nowhere 17:53, 28 March 2013 (EDT)
You can download the data he used to use it comprehensively. Still your own independent 'study' might differ, as he had to draw the line somehow; he counted 1 word occurrence per song and had to be selective about what material he included or excluded. For instance not including STD variations of later studio songs with unique lyrics (like First Kiss) but including studio releases with remixes (Elegant Too's You Probably Get...), somehow without double counting. And I don't know what he did with words like "army's" in The Army's Tired Now (which has no s-less form in the song), though my guess is they wouldn't be grouped together. ~ magbatz 18:10, 28 March 2013 (EDT)
Always glad to spark a discussion. My original intention with posting this was that I found it highly intriguing that people other than us Wikians think about words in TMBG songs and how they relate and reappear. I agree it's not the best, most revealing chart ever produced, but the fact that it was produced at all provides me with further satisfying evidence that I'm not isolated in my appreciation for this band's wordy wackiness (or wacky wordiness). --MisterMe 08:23, 29 March 2013 (EDT)

And this is what it said to me[edit]

I've noticed that there are a few TMBG songs where one or more of the verses lead into the chorus by treating the chorus as a quote, by ending the verse with something like "And then he said to me" or "And this is what it said". I wasn't going to bother mentioning it until I realised that every verse of Weird Al's TMBG parody "Everything You Know Is Wrong" uses it, showing I'm not the only one that's noticed the pattern.

Examples I can think of:

  • Absolutely Bill's Mood - "And this is what it said to me"
  • Ana Ng - "These are the words that the voice was repeating:"
  • Cage & Aquarium - "Then you hear, a moment too late, this sound coming over the phone"
  • Ondine - "She said:"
  • Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head - "And as you fall from grace the only words you say are:"
  • Turn Around does it on every verse:
    • "So to calm my nerves I sang this song to him, over the phone"
    • "And as dirt rained down she played a xylophone and sang me this song"
    • "And his face which was a paper-white mask of evil sang us this song"
  • Whistling In The Dark - "And these are the words that it faintly said as I tried to call for help:"

Does this seem widespread enough to be theme-worthy? And what would it be called?

--Flicky (talk) 17:44, 14 July 2016 (EDT)

Found another one, in Withered Hope: "This is what he said:" --Flicky (talk) 10:48, 6 August 2016 (EDT)

Theme suggestion: Unusual Women[edit]

I find there's been a lot of songs specifically about paranormal/extraordinary women and girls. I guess it's a subcategory of "imaginary people", but might it be significant enough for its own label?

Some notable examples:

  • You're On Fire doesn't specify gender, but could count if the narrator is straight.

Laughter Theme[edit]

I'm considering adding a theme for references to laughter, but I also wanted to include songs with laughter in them. At the moment, I can only think of (She Was A) Hotel Detective and Alienation's For the Rich- are there any others I'm missing? AngleBlueprint (talk) 16:16, 14 April 2020 (EDT)

Hell Hotel. --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 20:33, 14 April 2020 (EDT)
Here's a list of songs that mention laughter in the lyrics:
And here's a (working) list of songs containing laughter:
Might be too slim for a full theme, but it's here for posterity. AngleBlueprint (talk) 10:13, 3 June 2021 (EDT)

I think Alphabet Lost And Found has a kid laughing SFX after "classes could not be complete".--You&Me!! (talk) 10:17, 3 June 2021 (EDT)

Also When The Lights Come On "We'll be laughing and shit". --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 19:36, 3 June 2021 (EDT)

Love is to love gone sour as friendship is to[edit]

I've noticed there's a number of songs that deal with anti-friendship, as in, I don't want to be your friend anymore.

--You&Me!! (talk) 08:55, 20 October 2021 (EDT)

I think some of these fit under the misanthropy song theme, though I don't know about just calling somebody a name like in "Dump" or "Fellowship". --MisterMe (talk) 09:30, 20 October 2021 (EDT)

This could be fun[edit]

This probably fits into several other themes and will be too overarching for the wiki, but I started making text for a page about misinformation or scientifically impossible things.

  • 2082- Time travel is impossible.
  • 25 O'Clock- 25 o’clock is not a time. By this logic, it would be 1 AM the next day.
  • 32 Footsteps- Ears cannot see, much less see lies, which are not objects. 32 moons cannot shine in 32 skies because there is only one sky encompassing the whole universe.
  • 7-11- As far as I know of, there is nothing expensive and/or made partly of glass at a 7-11.
  • '85 Radio Special Thank You- It is highly improbable that everyone in the world likes Bill Krauss, as well as the fact that it is highly improbable that Bill Krauss likes absolutely everything.
  • A Self Called Nowhere- The song describes a place, rather, a self, called nowhere, when in fact that nowhere would have to be somewhere, because nowhere would mean it wouldn’t exist, contradicting the fact that it would be nowhere to begin with.
  • Alphabet Lost And Found- “ZEBRA” is not a valid address, and “CAR” is not a valid liscence plate.
  • Alphabet Of Nations- “West Xylophone” is not a country.
  • Ana Ng- If the song were in the perspective of the singer and not the narrator, the opposite side of the world from where the song was recorded would be somewhere on the Eastern Indian Ocean, and the narrator’s lover would likely have been drowned and have died, and therefore, could not produce a backwards message through her voice because of the fact that she is no longer living.
  • Bangs- The world cannot hang upon somebody’s hair, because no human person can encompass that amount of space, no matter how big or strong their hair is.
  • Become A Robot- It is scientifically impossible to seemingly, out of nowhere, become a robot.
  • Birdhouse In Your Soul - Light is not spelled L-I-T-E
  • Cowtown- Cows cannot survive underneath the sea, much less an entire town of them.
  • Doctor Worm - Even the biggest worms are much too small to operate a drum set
  • Everything Right Is Wrong Again- If it means everything, that includes the song itself, rendering the entire song illegitimate and throwing it into the category of impossible paradoxes.
  • Hide Away Folk Family- Irony is not an object, therefore it can not be used to lace shoes.
  • I Broke My Own Rule- Time is a concept, and therefore you cannot lay yourself down in a room at the end of it. Even if you could, when we reach the end of time, all matter will be gone in the first place, meaning the room would not exist.
  • I Lost Thursday- A day is a unit relating to time, therefore, you cannot lose it.
  • Impossible- Someone like John Linnell absolutely could be. It’s not impossible for him to be, it’s merely impossible for him to not be.
  • Memphis- Heaven isn’t real. Even if it was, The Gibson Lounge would not be the first thing you would see when you entered because the Gibson Lounge is not in heaven, it is located in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Number Three- If there is only two songs in you, it is impossible for you to even have the idea to write a third song. Furthermore, this is only Flansburgh’s second song off the album, so, in reality, he only has one song in him, and this is the second.
  • Push Back The Hands- Time travel is impossible.
  • Rhythm Section Want Ad - The song makes a big deal that it no longer needed a rhythm section, yet they still didn't have one until late 1992.
  • Sensurround - Sensurround did not exist when John Linnell was born.
  • (She Was A) Hotel Detective- It is illegal for a monkey to work at a hotel, therefore the dumbwaiter cannot be a monkey.
  • (She Was A) Hotel Detective In The Future- If she was in the future, John Linnell would have no way of knowing about her presence because her presence has not existed yet.
  • Shoehorn With Teeth- Scientists and doctors alike have not figured out how, or why they would need to, return somebody to the womb.
  • Snowball In Hell- Hell isn’t real, so you cannot be a snowball in hell. Even if hell and the depictions of it were real, the snowball would immediately turn into vapor due to the amount of heat being generated.
  • South Carolina - John Linnell actually crashed his bicycle somewhere in New York.
  • Super Cool- It is impossible to be no amount of feet tall.
  • They'll Need A Crane - The destruction of a house could be performed by other construction equipment. It doesn't necessarily NEED to be a crane.
  • Till My Head Falls Off - John Linnell seemingly predicts the future and says his head is not a long ways off from falling off. This is a double lie, since John Linnell has no way of knowing exactly when it is going to fall of, on top of the fact that if your head were soon to fall off all by itself, I doubt you would be able to breathe, much less sing.
  • Too Tall Girl- The term “too tall” is subjective, so there is no such thing as a true “too tall” girl.
  • Upside Down Frown- A smile on the person next to you’s face cannot influence your hallucinations of black being white and the rainbow having a beard. Even if it isn’t a hallucination, rainbows cannot have beards in the first place.
  • When It Rains It Snows- The song implies that every time it rains, it also snows, which has been disproved time and time again and, is therefore, impossible.
  • When Will You Die- John Linnell is wrong to assume that the person he is talking to knows the date of their death.
  • Withered Hope- While it is possible for the crook to be attracted to the motorbike, it is scientifically impossible for the motorbike, an inanimate object, to be attracted to the Sad Sack.
  • You Probably Get That A Lot- The song is about a cephalophore, and you cannot swing your head fancy-free if your head does not exist.
  • You're On Fire- Combustible heads do not exist.
  • Youth Culture Killed My Dog- Youth culture is not an object and cannot kill the dog. According to the song itself, it merely influenced the dog to commit suicide, and suicide is what actually killed the dog.

Lmk what you think!--You&Me!! (talk) 15:33, 29 March 2022 (EDT)

It could be kind of arbitrary - what is an impossibility defined as? Maybe this would be better as "Metaphorical Impossibilities"? --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 01:18, 30 March 2022 (EDT)
Agreed. Again, I could start making a text document until another administrator approves the page creation.--You&Me!! (talk) 07:31, 30 March 2022 (EDT)

Putting Google documents with ideas for themes here so you guys can look over them and tell me what you think[edit]

Girl Songs This one is for Girl Songs, as oppose to Guy Songs. I thought it belonged. --You&Me!! (talk) 11:44, 31 March 2022 (EDT)



I am so down for this. TMBG is amazing at singing about women in a way that doesn't inappropriately objectify them; let's make a page that honors this. -FloridaFlamingoGirl, 3-31-22
I think Girl Songs is perfect, and don't forget all those Mundanes songs, a bunch of those are from the point of view of a young woman. Most Mundanes songs are either girl or guy songs. Not sure about those other themes, the central categories look a little lacking. TitanicFog (talk) 11:42, 21 April 2022 (EDT)

Greetings And Goodbyes - (aka hi and bye, this one is freely editable and you can leave your thoughts on the page itself)